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UW Medicine opens new Eastside Specialty Center on Northup Way

Dr. Eugene Yang, director of the UW Medicine Eastside Specialty Center, shows the Center
Dr. Eugene Yang, director of the UW Medicine Eastside Specialty Center, shows the Center's pod layout during a recent media tour.
— image credit: Daniel Nash

UW Medicine made a “huge step forward,” according to Dr. Eugene Yang, in expanding its patient services on the Eastside.

The UW Medicine Eastside Specialty Center opened doors on a new facility on Northup Way on Feb. 24, completing the center’s move from its former 116th Avenue Northeast location.

Constructed from the ground up, the 33,000-square-foot Northup facility is a nearly fourfold expansion adding an urgent care clinic, more specialty services – such as gastrointestinal, echocardiology and sports medicine – expanded outpatient surgical capability and an on-site pharmacy and a reworked system for staging patients in examination rooms.

It will be able to employ 40 doctors and 80 support staff, and be able to take on double the center’s previous patient workload.

Yang is the medical director of the center and a clinical associate professor of medicine in UW Medicine’s cardiology division.

On a media tour a week before the center’s opening, while bustling workers were completing late-stage finishing touches on their work, Yang demonstrated some of the innovations made in the facility’s layout. Both floors’ public spaces are made up of long hallways demarcated by color to indicate specialty. Each section of hallway is its own waiting area; non-English speaking patients can request translation assistance through a dedicated phone service. These hallways are intersected by halls to examination rooms.

“We’re set up to maximize efficiency, as well as patient flow,” Yang said. “Patients can do self-rooming, or they can be escorted and given assistance.

“That’s the onstage area, but here’s the offstage area,” he said, opening a door between exam room halls. Behind the door is an office suite with access to the exam rooms from the other side. “This is one of our pods, set up to minimize exposure between our patients and health care providers’ work area. You can think of it a bit like Disneyland: When you visit, you don’t want to see what’s going on behind the scenes. It’s a new thing, something that hasn’t been (used) a lot in specialty clinics.”

The pod system also allows some specialties to become modular within the center. Urology and neurology could be in red and blue pods, respectively, one day and blue and red on another depending on need.

Specialties with specific equipment needs – such as gastrointestinal medicine and physical therapy – have dedicated suites.

“Some of these services we’re able to offer now. Before our patients would have had to cross the floating bridges to Harborview Medical Center or University of Washington Medical Center,” Yang said.

In the near future, the center will be able to participate in clinical trials and research, he said. Quarterly educational seminars open to the public are already in the works.

The center will hold an open house May 17 from 1-3 p.m.

The center is located at 3100 Northup Way. More information can be found at eastside.uwmedicine.org.

 

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